Nancy Carr
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The Beatles White Album by Tributosaurus

RAWRRRR, it’s the White Album

This past Friday Tributosaurus did the entire White Album live (well, with one exception, to be explained in a bit) — and what a show! Say what you will about this being the “tension album,” or about editing it down to one disc, a la George Martin’s recommendation (and we have on this blog, oh we have), but this is an amazing set of songs.

A few observations about the show:

  • As with “Sgt. Pepper’s” and “Magical Mystery Tour,” it’s revelatory to see how many people are required onstage to recreate some of the recordings. It’s a visual key to the overdubbing, and additional musicians, many of the White Album songs employ.
  • “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” got people dancing in the aisles!
  • The guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is even more astounding live. (Yes, even without Eric Clapton playing it.)
  • Favorite bit of stageplay in the show: Chris Neville demonstrating the harpsichord sound he was about to unloose for “Piggies” by playing the keyboard part from “Touch Me” by the Doors — and having the whole band, and the crowd, spontaneously join in for a couple of minutes. (RIP Ray Manzarek.)
  • The whole audience sang along (softly) during “Blackbird.”
  • “Goodnight” was surreal, featuring Tributosaurus’ drummer, Dan Leali, singing in a top hat.
  • “Dear Prudence” gets better every time I hear it.

Finally, “Revolution 9” was the biggest buzzkill I have ever experienced at a live show. The band pointed out that the song is an example of musique concrete and thus can’t really be recreated, so they played the recording. Makes sense, but man how the energy drained from the room (along with phalanxes of people heading for the restrooms). It’s striking that this is the one song in the Beatles catalog that can defeat a live performance. I have to confess that I’ve never liked it (though I have, intermittently, felt that I should respect it) and this experience helped me understand my antipathy.